Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Friday, October 02, 2015

Consumer Satisfaction with Smart Home Automation Apps

Within the mainstream marketplace, the notion of an Internet of Things (IoT) still translates into having more potential applications in the home, popularized by innovations like smart thermostats that learn from the user's personal preferences. That said, this is very much a nascent market.

Smart Home devices are supposed to make life easier for the people that use them, but according to the findings from the latest market study by Argus Insights, consumer satisfaction is slowly rising while overall demand continues to decline.

Connectivity has been accomplished, but future success of the smart home market will depend on how smart the products can really be -- making life better for the user, in some perceived or quantifiable way.

According to the new data, distrust from consumers about the reliability of these connected devices is obstructing growth in adoption and that, along with a steady drop in demand, may lead to a challenging holiday sales season for home automation companies.

Argus Insights research and analysis of 45,000 consumer reviews sourced from around the world demonstrates that there is a slow improvement in satisfaction, particularly among home automation customers with smart light bulbs and security kits or hubs.

However, the greatest consumer disappointment was in the category of security cameras. Their report takes a deeper look at user response to security systems -- in particular products from Canary and SimpliSafe, plus several home security cameras.

"These devices are still designed more for the Internet of Things than the Internet of Humans. Mainstream consumers were burned last holiday season by installation and reliability issues and though the remaining consumers in the market overall like these products more, the issues that forced out mainstream adopters after Holiday 2014 remain," said John Feland, CEO at Argus Insights.

Other key findings from the market study:

  • Delight for Smart Home devices is experiencing a slight uptick as companies work to make life easier for consumers.
  • Products that deliver on the promise of a better life in a way that is easy to install and maintain are driving up delight metrics.
  • Distrust from consumers about reliability of the products along with a drop in demand could lead to a disappointing holiday season for Smart Home device manufacturers.

Security Kits and Hubs are the leading the Smart Home device market. SimpliSafe leads in customer satisfaction for its painless installation, intuitive interface and overall value.

Canary, one of SimpliSafe's main competitors, entered the market strong, but more recently users have been complaining of spotty network connection temporarily disabling the device. Therefore, its unreliability is driving down consumer satisfaction.

Nest is recovering from its not-so successful debut. Consumer perceptions of the Nest Cam have increased almost 20 percent since launch, indicating that some of the early issues are being addressed and new customers feel the product is starting to deliver on the Nest brand promise.

Still, according to the Argus assessment, most consumers believe that it's not reliable enough to use as a security camera because of weak mobile notifications and video streaming capabilities.